WASHINGTON: Tense officers pointing guns, lawmakers with gas masks, camouflaged protesters smashing windows — this was the day that President Donald Trump’s bid to overturn the US election went “wild.”
Inside the great domed US Capitol building, images emerged of a scene resembling something from a coup d’etat or terrorist attack.
A mob, waving Trump’s blue flags and wearing his red campaign hats, stormed through, making it right into the debating chamber.
And the rioters quickly accomplished their main goal: halting the ceremony that had just got underway to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election win over Trump back in November.
Legislators were given gas masks to protect themselves against tear gas as they rushed to safety, abandoning the ceremony.
In the House chamber, a viral photo on Twitter showed plainclothes security men aiming pistols point blank through the smashed window of a door to block intruders.
One person, not identified by authorities, was wounded by a gunshot inside the Capitol building, an emergency response source told AFP. According to US media reports, the victim later died.
And as quickly as members of Congress could get out, protesters got in.
Some even occupied the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sitting mockingly at a desk. Others posed for pictures, like conquering troops, in the Senate chamber.
Trump had promised his supporters that Wednesday would be a “wild” day for the nation’s capital.
“I’ve not seen anything like this since I deployed to Iraq,” Mike Gallagher, a Republican lawmaker and military veteran, told CNN.
After several hours of mayhem, Trump issued a short video on Twitter calling on people to “go home.”
But there was no indication of regret, much less condemnation of the violence.
Instead, Trump then used his White House video to repeat his false, incendiary claims that the presidential election “was stolen from us.”
“We love you. You’re very special,” he congratulated the mob.
Ever since November, Trump has been trying to get the election overturned.
“USA, USA, USA,” Trump supporters chanted as they fought against police, hurling poles, metal pipes and other debris.
“They can’t stop us all,” a man with a megaphone called to the crowd, urging people to rush the Capitol entrances.
Source: Bangkok Post